Life In The Ghetto Through a Teen’s Eyes

Posted: June 19, 2013 in Latest post
By Luzuko Magengelele (Gr10)
I never thought growing up would mean this. A few years back the concept of growing up sounded so enticing. I never thought such a simple thing could be so challenging , but then again that’s how we grow; we learn from trials and tribulations.
See my childhood has always been infatuated by dreams of how I’d live my teenage life. I’d look at a high school student with envy, analysing the way she dressed to the way she carried herself with over-flowing confidence, swinging her hips in a seemingly systematic rhythm. I’d look at her and think to myself “high school is the life”. Such a clichéd expression but I never even knew that back then.
Saturdays would come and I’d see my neighbour jumping into some car with her friends, getting ready to attend a party. I wanted to be her. I wanted to be pretty and wear fancy dresses. I even wanted to be popular. to me that’s all a teenage life entailed. No worries just parties.
Five years down the line I find myself reminiscing about my childhood again. Memories of getting soaked in the mud impregnate my mind. a child’s laughter becomes a reminder of the good old days. See now I know the truth. I’ve grown enough to know that teenage life is no walk in the park.
That girl (my neighbour) swung her hips with confidence and held her nose in the air but inside, inside she was probably just a little girl crying for help. Every time she went to a party she probably left behind tons of homework and studying to do ; she probably left behind a drunk mother and teary eyed siblings ; she probably left behind nights of terror, torment and fear. Who knows. No one will ever know her story but I know for sure that she had one. We all do.
We all have our reasons for trying so hard to look eighteen so that the bouncers at Space Bar wouldn’t ask for our IDs. Its the kind of life a girl living in the dusty streets of Gugulethu lives. We wanna be cool and popular, be seen driving around in that “hot” guy’s car. Our aim is to receive a lot of likes on our pictures on Facebook. We wanna lose our virginities to our boyfriends just to make them stay. Pretty stupid and messed up but trust us we don’t care.
We don’t care whether our grades are sinking with our attitudes towards school. We don’t even care what our parents say anymore. All our life entails is social networking, eating, getting high, listening to music and attending parties. We don’t even care how much it will cost our future.  We’ll just fall pregnant and receive the tax you work so hard for.
I look at these situations and think “I never thought it was this messed up” . Now I wish I was just a spectator in the teen world again. I want to be that girl with the “Minnie Mouse” ponytails again. I want to jam to “Sponge Bob Squared Pants” and the “Telly Tubbies” again.
I didn’t wanna be influenced by these tendencies of the messed up society we live in. A society that brainwashes my already perishing people.
  1. Luzuko, this is a very moving piece of writing. I think we’ve definitely all experienced the sense of disappointment when we realise that growing up isn’t quite what we imagined it was. We must surround ourselves as often as possible with the people that inspire us and bring us just a little closer to the ideal. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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